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Edogg

Corals Visably Suffering, Bubble Algae Outbreak, Perfect Levels

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Hey everyone.

I would make an effort to submit photos tonight of my tank however it's past its bedtime. Over the last month one of my hammer corals has been partially closed most of the time. I continuously checked my levels to be presented with perfect water parameters. I decided that its best if I give it time. Two weeks have passed now, and most unfortunately my tank has spiraled into bubble algae heaven. I have made 2 attempts to remove it, but even with a siphon hose and a scalpel I cannot get to all of it. Within 2-3 days it completely grows back. Today I came home to find that 2 of my 3 sps frags had closed and changed colors to a more dull tint. My rainbow acropora is turning green and another purple/green frag I have has turned a darker blue. There is no polyp extension. My other large hammer coral was also retracted, with my mushroom corals bleached white instead of its normal flesh color, though the green highlights are still prevalent towards the top.  My anemone, or two as it split a month ago, seems unaffected and continues to take up way to much space and sting my zoa's.

My levels, as I said before are perfect under my standards. I am unable to test for phosphates with my current equipment, however I've read elsewhere that bubble algae doesn't need an influx of them to grow.

Salinity 1.025

Alkalinity 7.4 dKH
Calcium 420ppm
Magnesium 1350ppm
Nitrate 0
Nitrite 0
Ammonia 0
Tempature 80.5F

I have calculated my system water volume with rocks to be 14gal. I've been doing a 5 gallon water change every week since I saw the hammer was closed.

My tank is almost a year old now. I've hit many bumps in the road but this is one that I am clueless to the solution. Photos will be submitted tomorrow around lunchtime. Please help.

Edited by Edogg

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Where do you get your water for water changes and top off? Are you using ro/di

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Bubble Algae is evil! Eradicating it is nearly impossible, A little bit in the tank adds to biodiversity, a lot of is a nuisance.

Bubble algae can spread extremely quickly if ideal water conditions provide. The test you did NOT list is your phosphates, the one that could give us the best indication as to what is going on. Something in the tank is feeding that bubble algae and your only hope of bringing it down to manageable proportions relys on you finding the root cause.

Do you have a sandbed? if so when was the last time you pulled it an replaced it in a massive nutrient export?
What type of Filtration do you have on this tank?
What is the phosphates at?
 

The nasty thing in having a nano like that is that you can't have Tangs to pick at it and help in ridding you of the pest, but on the positive note its less rock and coral to have to clean. I would personally spend a day going after it hand picking every piece you can get at and ensure you are using the scalpel to scrape all the remains off the rocks, removing every bit you see, pay extra attention to coral bases & Skeletons (Bubble algae thrives there). Followed by removing your sandbed and sucking up all the crap in a 50% water change.

After that continue to monitor daily, removing any bit you see begin to grow while looking for the source of extra nutrients. You can can Emerald Crabs to assist in knocking some of it down but don't set your expectations high.

There is no miracle tonic, snake oil, or dip that will solve this issue, as well ignore the anecdotal experience of others to avoid "popping" the bubbles in fear of releasing spores, that type of mentality is your damned if you do and your damned if you don't, and will not assist you with this. Just get in there and expect allot of manual maintenance, and if your filtration is lacking it may be better to stick with a bare bottom. Good Luck!

one last thing to this line you posted "I've read elsewhere that bubble algae doesn't need an influx of them to grow"

You are correct it does not need an influx, it just needs a source of food. Excess nutrients are what feed them.

Edited by Exodus
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Thanks for the replies.

I've been dreading having to do a maintenance day, but it probably is the best thing I can do. I have a Red Sea Max Nano with base filtration. I consider the skimmer and filter sock very good, but I haven't had the experience of owning much to compare it to. I get my water from an RODI Machine I hookup to my outside garden hose and fill 5 gallon buckets at a time with. I am going to make a permanent station eventually, but for now I have the BRS 4-stage system with no TDS meter. 

Ill update with photos after I do a 50% waterchange, takeout the sand, and remove as much of the algae as I can reach.

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5 minutes ago, Edogg said:

 I consider the skimmer and filter sock very good

How many filter Socks do you own? How often is it getting changed out?

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dreading having to do a maintenance day” and nanos don’t mix well. You might want to look into some form of nutrient export or get more regular with the water changes.

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I had a 5 gallon pico for about 9 months. It ran beautifully the entire time. I just had to do 20% water changes every weekend. It had no filtration except live rock in the over flow.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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+1 for testing for phosphates.  I would check the RO/DI water source before and after mixing salt, and check the levels in the tank before and after the change.

Sometimes when problems persist or get worse after 'big' water changes there is a problem with the water supply or the mix.

Sorry for your troubles.

Nate

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6 hours ago, AcanLord said:

I had a 5 gallon pico for about 9 months. It ran beautifully the entire time. I just had to do 20% water changes every weekend. It had no filtration except live rock in the over flow.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

This typically should be enough for maintaining a great looking Nano, as biological filtration is extremely effective when not pushing the bio-load, though when Bubble Algae is introduced to a tank its no longer a matter of prevention, but control. Bad husbandry does not lead to bubble algae, not inspecting corals and frags, or lack of quarantine does.

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